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The Latest: Whitaker now confirmed to attend panel hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker (all times local): 8:05 p.m. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will appear before the panel Friday.

Whitaker's appearance had been thrown into question after the panel approved a tentative subpoena to ensure that Whitaker appeared Friday and answered questions. Whitaker responded by saying he wouldn't appear unless the committee dropped its subpoena threat, which he derided as an act of "political theater."

But the committee chairman, Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, tweeted Thursday evening that Whitaker would indeed attend the hearing.

6 p.m.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's scheduled appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday is still uncertain as the Department of Justice exchanges letters with the panel over whether Whitaker might be subpoenaed.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler wrote Whitaker on Thursday evening and said that he wouldn't subpoena him if "you appear before the committee tomorrow morning and if you are prepared to respond to questions from our members."

Tensions escalated after the panel approved a tentative subpoena in case Whitaker doesn't appear or answer questions. Whitaker then responded in a letter to Nadler that he wouldn't appear unless the committee dropped its subpoena threat.

Nadler wouldn't drop the threat of a subpoena but told Whitaker they could handle concerns over specific questions "on a case by case basis."

1:10 p.m.

Acting Attorney general Matthew Whitaker says he won't appear before a House committee unless the panel drops its threat of subpoenaing him.

Whitaker said in a statement Thursday that the House Judiciary Committee is trying "to create a public spectacle" by authorizing a tentative subpoena for his testimony even though he had already agreed to appear voluntarily.

Whitaker is scheduled to testify Friday.

He is likely in his final days on the job given that the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of William Barr as acting attorney general. That nomination next goes to the full Senate.

11:10 a.m.

The House Judiciary Committee has approved a tentative subpoena for Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to ensure he appears at a hearing Friday.

The vote doesn't issue a subpoena to Whitaker but allows House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to do so if Whitaker is uncooperative. Nadler said he hopes not to have to use the subpoena, but "a series of troubling events" suggested it should be prepared. He said the committee had received reports that some at the department were counseling Whitaker not to appear.

Democrats want to talk to Whitaker because he is a close ally of President Donald Trump and has criticized special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Republicans said the vote was unnecessary because Whitaker has agreed to appear voluntarily.

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